It’s a dilemma most college-aged guys will be faced with on more than a few occasions. On top of the stress of mustering up the courage to ask the cute girl at the coffee shop to reserve her Friday night for you, you then must plan the perfect outing to woo your newfound love interest into thinking you’re the man of her dreams, at least for a few solid hours. The last obstacle you care to concern yourself with is your quickly dwindling bank account. Because let’s face it, selling pizza at $2.50 a slice just didn’t pan out to be as lucrative as you were lead to believe. So take that 10 bucks that’s burning a hole in your pocket, and invest it in something worthwhile (and I don’t mean splitting Netflix 3 ways with your roommates).
Depending on the type of girl you’re currently after, you can easily skip the trendy downtown dinner and over-priced martinis and win her over with a more simple, cost-effective approach. If she mentions in casual conversation that she loves the outdoors, why not invite her on a Saturday afternoon outing to a park? With dozens of state parks located in the surrounding areas of Gainesville, an afternoon nature hike or a little lazy river rafting are ideal activities to ensure an afternoon of relaxation and quality conversation. And trust me, girls love this stuff. Lake Walburg just south of campus offers some great free activities such as canoeing or you might just go there and have a picnic. Ginnie Springs north of Gainesville offers inexpensive outdoor activities as well.
Maybe your new friend is not the outdoorsy type. No problem, you can always invite her over to your place for a delicious, home-cooked meal. Don’t worry if your cooking skills aren’t exactly Top Chef material, it’s the thought that will really win her over.
If you’re determined to go out to dinner, I would recommend some options away from campus. There are some nice restaurants that locals attend west of I-75 down Archer Road. Furthermore, downtown Gainesville offers some cozy, local spots that have a little more character and local feel.
If she’s a bookworm type, there are plenty of local bookstores around town where the two of you can skim the isles and cozy up in a quiet corner with your literary selections. This is also a great way to get some conversation flowing since you’ll already have some interesting material in front of you to discuss.
Clearly, dropping a fortune on a date doesn’t always elicit the desired outcome, and oftentimes a bad date will leave you penniless and alone. Usually, the more creative you get, the more intrigued your date will be. Remember, the key here is to earn the highest output for your monetary input, so rather than dropping $50 on an expensive dinner at a noisy restaurant where the conversation will probably revolve mainly around how tender your steak is, why not save your cash and impress your date this weekend with a creative and thoughtful outing that will allow you to really get to know each other? If things don’t work out, your wallet will still be full to help you mend your broken heart with a 12 pack.